This post explains the major differences when you play blackjack at home or within a casino. Blackjack is a fun game, whether you playing at home with friends or family or within a casino setting.
One of the most exciting parts, when you play blackjack at home, is that you have the chance to become the dealer. Being the dealer means that you will have an advantage over other players. However, if you are banking on all the action from other players; you’ll lose way more money on one hand than if you are a player.
Play blackjack at home basics
In a private game of blackjack, you will usually have between two and seven players. This includes the dealer. The game becomes unmanageable if you have more players than this. In the game, a 52 card deck is used and including the joker card, that acts as a substitute for the burned card in the casino version.
The cards have identical values as in casino blackjack. Aces are worth 1 or 11, face cards (the jack, queen, and king) are worth 10 points, and every one the opposite cards are worth their ranking. The suit still doesn’t matter.
In most private games you begin with one player shuffling the cards. The player to the right of that player gets to cut the cards. Then cards are dealt one by one to all players until someone gets an ace.
The player that gets the ace becomes the first dealer.
The joker is placed at the bottom of the deck face up.
The decision regarding betting limits should be made before the game. You might, for instance, agree bets should be between $1 and $5 on every hand.
In casino blackjack, it’s customary to bet before you get your first card. Although some home players choose this way you’re generally not required to bet until after you get your first card.
Another one of the main differences is that the dealer always wins ties during a game of blackjack.
Players also get some advantages they don’t have within a casino though. The most important of those is the payout for a blackjack. At a casino, the payout for a 2-card hand totalling 21 is 3 to 2. In a private game, however, the payout for this (known as a “natural”) is 2 to 1 instead.
Everyone including the dealer gets one card, face-down.
This means everyone gets to make a judgement on how much to bet which is different from the casino version where the card is face up. The dealer is the last to play and gets to decide whether everyone has to double their bets.
If the dealer doubles the bets each player gets the choice to redouble his bet again.
Then everyone gets their next card face-up. If the dealer gets a blackjack he has to announce it immediately. He then gets double from each player which is not the case in a casino. If a player also gets a blackjack the player loses but doesn’t have to pay double.
The 1st player to the dealer’s left gets to determine whether to hit or stand. A player can hit until he receives a total of twenty-two or higher. If he busts he loses his bet to the dealer. If the dealer busts later in that hand, it won’t be an issue for them as the player has already lost his bet.
In a private game of blackjack players have the ability to separate pairs and re-split. A blackjack after splitting is paid off at 2 to 1.
Most home games don’t allow doubling down, although this rule should be made clear at the start of the game
Anytime a player gets ‘blackjack’, he will become the dealer but also has the choice to “sell” the role to a different player. All he needs to do is ask the players if anyone else would be interested in taking on the dealer role. If someone says yes, then they will make the dealer an offer, which they can then accept or reject. If no-one accepts the offer the player to the immediate left of the dealer gets to deal next.
Since you get to determine one card before making your bet, you must always bet the max when your 1st card is an ace or a ten. The probability of getting that 2 to 1 payoff on blackjack is simply too good to ignore.
If you’re the dealer and you get an ace or a ten, you must force all the players to double their bets. The odds are just too good here not to.
Also, you’ll be able to count cards in a home blackjack game. If you’re a card counter, you stand to win big if you can find some reasonably high stakes private blackjack games to participate in.
It doesn’t always make sense to be the dealer all the time especially if you’re a card counter. You’ll already have enough of an edge over the dealer that you just won’t need it.